We All Make Mistakes

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mistakesIt’s okay. We all make mistakes. We have to learn to forgive ourselves for them.

So, mamas, let me share with you one of the many mistakes I have made raising my children for over the past seventeen years. Let me take you back to a fun-filled afternoon baking that took an unexpected turn for the worse.

When my daughter was two-and-a-half, she encountered a battle with a hand-held mixer. Yes, you read that right, a hand-held mixer! Who would have thought a hand mixer could wreak havoc on a winter day. 

We decided on this snowy day to bake gooey, decadent chocolate chip cookies. Baking was a common activity in our home. I was able to teach my girls how to follow a recipe, take out the ingredients from the pantry, learn to identify kitchen items as well as the concepts of basic math and measuring. Baking was our enjoyment and who can deny the added benefit of eating all of the deliciousness that we created!

My three little ones were all under the age of four, so they stood on kitchen chairs leaning against the counter, while I stood next to them as they added in the ingredients. Well, mama, let me tell you, I didn’t do such a good job supervising that day. It was a simple mistake, but one that can easily be avoided.

I didn’t put my girls’ hair up. That’s right, not one of them had a ponytail, braid, or bun. BIG MISTAKE!

They all had their hair down, and my one little one was curious to see all of her favorite ingredients mixing around. With innocent curiosity, she leaned forward a bit, and the beaters caught her hair, became locked, and continued to wrap and twist around a large portion of hair.

I had to immediately pull the plug on the mixer because the beaters kept wrapping more and more hair at a rapid pace and tore the hair right out of the root! Another area of her hair was also caught in the air vent of the hand mixer, and I had to get that hair out as well by using scissors. My kitchen turned from complete happiness to chaos within seconds.

She had an area in the middle of her head that was bald, about three inches long by one inch wide. My daughter, attached to the beaters, was screaming as I was trying to detach the beaters. Her identical twin was crying in shock, and my four-year-old was hysterically crying as well. I was trying to remain as calm as I could but shaking all over. I could barely use the scissors since my hands were trembling, and my heart was beating so quickly. I remember feeling I just needed to get my daughter detached from the beaters so I could hold her as tight as possible and rock her quietly, letting her know all would be okay.

But all I could muster up was to allow my body to collapse on the couch with her in my arms, both of us crying. How could I let this happen? Why didn’t I put her hair up? Could I have unplugged the mixer faster? If only I put her hair up.

I just held my baby girl in my arms as both of us sobbed for what seemed like hours. She was sobbing out of fear and the pain of her hair being pulled out, and I cried for other reasons.

I sobbed for the feeling I let her down. I didn’t protect her as best as I could. I made a mistake, and now she was bald in one area. All areas of guilt crept in upon me like a never-ending nightmare. Would she be bald forever? How long would it take for the hair to grow in? Why didn’t I  put her hair up?

Over and over again, these thoughts raced around in my mind. I felt helpless and thought everyone around me would assume I was an irresponsible mom.

After a long nap snuggled together, we were able to calm down. I made a few phone calls. One to the doctor who reassured me that her hair would grow back, and I am happy to report that the hair grew back fully within six months. There was nothing a little combing couldn’t take care of. And you know what, if a little bald spot never grew back in, that would have been okay, for we all know that there is far worse that she could have encountered in life.

And another call to my husband to cry to him about what happened. I was expecting him to be upset with me and fuel my fear of being a bad mom, but rather he validated that it was an accident, a mistake, and I needed to forgive myself and let it go. I  was able to breathe and exhale a bit while some of my fears of being an incompetent mom released at that moment. 

So, mamas, it is my due diligence from one mama to another, to share with you what can happen, so no one else ever has to go through this. Keep baking, make a mess of your kitchen, and enjoy the moments creating memories, but please don’t forget to put long hair up!

I can continue to forgive myself by sharing with you because mistakes happen. 

P.S. It’s okay to share your mistake with others. Please don’t keep them locked inside. We all make them! 

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Ali lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and her husband. After moving around a bit as a child, she spent her teen years in Westchester county, moved to NYC for college and returned to Westchester fifteen years ago. Prior to having the girls, she was an English teacher, and on the side always enjoyed writing with the hope to one day publish a poetry book. In her free time, Ali enjoys going on long runs, browsing independent bookstores, catching up with friends. She is in a constant state of doing laundry, cooking, policing arguments, driving to and from activities, and trying her best to be the kind of mom her girls will admire, even on her worst days. Ali is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart. You can follow Ali on Facebook at https:www.facebook.com/hangintheremama/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hang.in.there.mama